Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Go Scare Yourself

After a six-week hiatus, "Boston Legal" returned to ABC last night with a new episode. It was the kind of occasion that would have warranted turning off my phone, except that the only person who would call me that late at night is my boyfriend, and he knows to wait until after the show.

Determined not to miss a single second of a new BL, I tuned in to ABC five minutes before 10 pm and caught the end of "Dancing with the Stars"—the moment where the hosts bid sayonara to celebrity comedian and radio show host Adam Corolla and his dancing instructor and partner, Julianne Hough.

In the final moments before the credits, the show host put the mike to Adam and asked him a question that was clearly intended to lead the comedian into an opportunity to do what he would normally do: make a joke. But instead, Adam said something to the effect of: “I did this show because it scared me and I thought it would be a good idea to do something that scared me. I’m glad I did. To everyone watching who is afraid, too, I say just go out and do it. You don't know what rewards you'll reap from the risk.”

This morning, I received a similar message.

For a week or so, I’ve been subscribing to CEO/Entrepreneur/Attention-Getter Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out newsletter. The e-mail from Peter that greeted me this morning says:

So I spoke to a class at NYU last night, talking about marketing and creativity.
I suggested that they do one thing every day that scares them. I suggest the
same to you. Today, do one thing that scares you.

In less than 12 hours, I heard two people give the same advice.

Coincidence? Or divine instruction? Whatever you believe, when synchronicity like that occurs to me, I take heed.

Today, I will do something to scare myself. And I pass on the encouragement to you to do the same.

Taking the leap to self-employment was terrifying. Starting a second company, self-funding it, and taking the idea out into the world for people to judge has, at times, conjured sensations of being in mortal danger. These are intensely frightening undertakings.

But throughout my life, I have always found that confronting things I fear has been the right choice. It has forced me to challenge myself and my assumptions. As a result, I have always found skills, loves, friends and opportunities that I would otherwise not have discovered.

No matter where you are in the self-employment process, chances are you can benefit from a shake up, too.

If you're only considering starting a business, but haven't yet done anything more than talk about it, today is the day to put your foot forward.

If you've started a business, but there is an element of it that frightens you, today is the day to face it.

If you've successfully been in business for a period of time, today is the day to look at your dusty widgets and ask yourself, "What is holding me back from taking this business to the next level? What am I afraid of?"

Life is too short to be afraid, my friends. Go scare yourself.

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